Alice and I get asked about wrinkle-relaxing injections in your 20s fairly frequently – Is it a good idea? How young is too young? Is preventative toxin a myth? I’m 29 and had my first lot of wrinkle-relaxing injections this year. So, here are five things I’d want anyone in their 20s to consider before starting toxin treatment.
1. Preventative toxin is a ‘thing’
It’s true! You can stop wrinkles setting in as you get older – to some extent. If you step in with toxin before your lovely expression lines become actual, deeper wrinkles that are just there on the face even without movement, you’ll prevent that actually happening. There’s a really interesting study that gets cited a lot in this discussion that followed two identical twin sisters for 13 years. One had toxin injections a couple of times a year in certain areas on her face, and the other didn’t. It basically proved that preventative toxin works, and you can see the before-and-after pictures for yourself online. Alice goes into more detail on the study here.
2. You can take it too far
You know those tight, shiny, foreheads and heavy, shelf-like brows that belong to twenty-something reality-TV personalities? That’s too much toxin. And while that same amount may well be perfectly suitable for someone in their 50s or upwards and wouldn’t make them look freakish, it’s way too much for someone who barely has any lines or wrinkles to speak of.
Botulinum toxin works by relaxing muscles and keeping them paralysed, so the younger you are – and therefore, the less knackered your facial muscles are because they haven’t been used as much as those of someone twice your age – the less relaxing they need to get the same effect. Too high a dosage and your face will look frozen and stiff. I had ‘baby toxins’ – a term used to describe a subtler approach to toxin that’s much more suitable for the younger patient. My injector, Dr Rachna Murthy, injected a small amount of toxin, just a sprinkle, in several areas around my face just to freshen, smooth and give a little lift here and there. I don’t look different, but I definitely look brighter.
3. You don’t need it
It’s not just that you don’t need loads of toxin, you don’t need it at all. That goes for any tweakment at any age, but I think it’s particularly important to highlight for people in their 20s because I know what the pressure from social media, influencers and your peers feels like. You can choose not to engage though, and worry about something else – I’m sure, at this age, your list is long enough. The last thing you want to do is erase any sign of you in your face – your character, personality and uniqueness, and that can start to erode pretty quickly if you get too carried away with aesthetic treatments from a young age because people forget what they looked like to begin with and end up with blank, cookie-cutter faces.
4. It’s a financial commitment
Not many of us have loads of disposable income in our 20s, and the danger with wrinkle-relaxing injections is that (because you’ll go to an expert practitioner who really knows what they’re doing), you’re likely to love the results and want to keep repeating them, though, of course, you don’t have to. Toxin generally lasts for around 3 to 6 months – depending on a few things – so if you want to keep it up, you’re entering into an ongoing financial commitment of £200-£300 at least twice a year. If you can afford that, great, but don’t bankrupt yourself or sacrifice other, more important savings goals in favour of a smoother face.
5. It has long-term effects
Muscles that are continuously topped up with toxin will weaken over time. This will obviously happen to us all eventually as we age anyway, but it’s worth being aware that you are, in a way, willing your facial muscles to weaken before their time. That being said, it’s not something that practitioners seem to particularly worry about, and a lot of people have wrinkle-relaxing injections for decades without showing these unwanted effects.
Similarly, it’s rare, but not unheard of, to become resistant to toxin over time. Again, this tends to affect people who have high dosages more frequently, whereby something is triggered that causes the body to produce antibodies to the toxin’s proteins.
So, if you’re in your 20s and you’re going to start wrinkle-relaxing injections, be cautious – find a good practitioner, just have a little bit, and if they tell you you really don’t need it, listen, take the compliment and hold off for a few more years.
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